5 NHL Stars on Trade Watch This Offseason

Trades involving notable NHL players often take place during the offseason. That’s when teams have more salary-cap space to work with and a willingness to invest it in the free-agent and trade markets.

Sometimes, those offseason moves involve an NHL star. In recent years, such notables as Artemi Panarin (2017), Ryan O’Reilly (2018) and Nazem Kadri (2019) have changed teams via summer deals. Most were either at the height of their stardom or approaching it when they were moved.

Last summer was no different. Among the noteworthy moves were the Columbus Blue Jackets trading Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks and Marc-Andre Fleury being acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks from the Vegas Golden Knights.

The coming offseason could see another handful of stars change clubs. Some, such as the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller, have been the subject of trade speculation for a while.

A variety of factors can go into moving a star player. In some cases, a veteran player might not be keen to spend the remainder of his playing prime with a rebuilding club. Sometimes, a player who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility could prove too expensive to re-sign. In other cases, a team could attempt to unload an expensive player to free up cap room for other moves.

Here’s a look at five NHL stars who should be on trade watch this summer. You can express your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.


Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers have just $3.9 million in salary-cap space and 16 players under contract for 2022-23. They must shed salary if they hope to re-sign or replace pending free agents such as Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot.

Sergei Bobrovsky could be a trade candidate. At the 22:42 point of the May 25 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he suspected the Panthers tried hard to trade the 33-year-old goaltender this season, or at least lay the groundwork to do so. He added he didn’t know if it was possible but heard they worked hard on it.

Bobrovsky’s contract is the reason moving him would be difficult. He has four more seasons remaining with an annual salary-cap hit of $10 million plus a full no-movement clause. If he were to agree to be traded, it would only be to a select number of teams. The Panthers might have to retain part of his annual cap hit to make him more palatable to potential trade partners.

A Bobrovsky trade this summer seems like a long shot, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Perhaps a team with cap room seeking an experienced starter would have an interest in a two-time Vezina Trophy winner.

Author: Lucy Green